Escondido has been home to fascinating people, upstanding as well as scoundrels and characters. To find a specific person, click on the initial of the person's last name. We look forward to expanding and improving the functionality of this list over time; please check back to see more.
Cravath, Clifford Carlton "Gavvy" - Cravath, later also nicknamed "Cactus"when he became a "prickly" judge, was an American right fielder and right-handed batter in Major League Baseball who played primarily for the Philadelphia Phillies.
Timken, Henry (EHC newsletter article)
Henry Timken, a name known today around the world for inventing the tapered roller bearing, came to Southern California as one of the many “Eastern Capitalists” in the great boom years of the late 1880s. These men were attracted by the business opportunities, climate and the excitement the of the West.
Already famous and very wealthy from his patented carriage cross-spring, Henry Timken retired from active business in 1887. He moved to San Diego leaving his St. Louis business under the management of his son-in-law, A. S. Bridges.
In San Diego, Henry Timken did not remain idle in his retirement. After building an impressive home on the corner of 1st and Laurel Streets (which still stands today) he began looking around for real estate to purchase. In 1888 alone he bought over $500,000 in land and buildings in San Diego. That same year he also made his way to Escondido for the first time. The local newspaper reported that he thought Escondido was just the place for a home. However, six years went by before he acquired property here.
In 1893, pursuing an interest in farming, Timken purchased 200 acres of unimproved land of the Thomas Show Ranch from A. R. Thomas a founding member of the Escondido Land and Town Company. Little is known about the details of the transaction but public records show that A. R. Thomas purchased the Timken mansion in San Diego around that same time for only $1. One can assume that the 200 acres in Escondido sold to Henry Timken was part of the real estate deal. The Timken property was located on what is today East Valley Parkway. Remnants of some of the orchards that were planted under his supervision may still exist. Mr. Timken never built a home for himself on the property but he did build a packing shed which still stands.
Henry Timken did not live in Escondido on a full time basis. He traveled back and forth to Escondido from Louis and eventually Ohio via San Diego.
Timken left the daily care of his Escondido ranch to local employees, one of whom was Albert Beven, father of the late local historian Frances Beven Ryan. Whenever Timken came to town he stayed at the Escondido Hotel. His name appears many times in the early hotel registers.
It is from stories handed down through the Beven family that we glean some specific information about the Timken Ranch. The first fruit trees that were planted were peaches, apricots and plums. Later Timken dedicated most of his land to growing citrus. On one occasion Albert Beven and a co-worker were sent to Florida to purchase and bring back bare-root orange trees. The roots were dipped in clay before leaving Florida and Albert rode the train back to Escondido in the boxcar along with the trees keeping the clay on the roots moist so that they would survive the trip. A portion of the citrus crop on the Timken Ranch was planted in Blood Oranges. Timken had a contract with a Massachusetts company who purchased the entire crop of Blood Oranges every year.
It is also through the Beven family that we learn that Henry Timken utilized the heavy load bearing wagons on the ranch to perfect his most important invention, the tapered roller bearing. The patent for the Timken Roller Bearing Axle was issued in June, 1898. It is logical to assume that between 1893 and 1898 the ranch made a very useful testing site for his early prototypes.
Timken retained ownership of his Escondido ranch at least through August, 1899 when he subscribed for water stock from the Escondido Irrigation District. That year Timken and his two sons opened the Timken Roller Bearing Axle Co. in St. Louis. In 1901 the company moved to Canton, Ohio to be closer to the automobile industry.
Also in 1901, Henry Timken’s daughter, Amelia Bridges and her husband Appleton moved to Escondido. They purchased the (Beach/Bergman) house at 700 S. Juniper and lived there until 1904. Appleton Bridges had worked for his father-in-law in the carriage business in St. Louis and was left in charge when Henry Timken moved to California in 1887. It’s very probable that Appleton Bridges moved to California to once again look after Timken’s interests while Timken and his sons were focusing their attentions on their new company in Ohio.
Timken sold his ranch sometime after the turn of the century. By 1906 the Timken Ranch had become the nucleus of the 500 acre Eureka Ranch, the largest ranch in Escondido, which was owned by four men, A. W. Wohlford, G.R. Crane, F.E. Boudinot and Albert Beven.
Henry Timken died in 1909 leaving a legacy that has impacted the world. Today Timken tapered roller bearings can be found in everything from airplanes and space crafts to printing presses and cars. On a smaller scale Henry Timken left his mark on the agricultural history of Escondido as one of the early pioneers of the citrus industry which flourished here for over forty years.